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Minister's Call For Sacu Private Sector Engagement (Economic Counsellor Office in Eswatini)
Kind: Rep office reports  Organization: Department of International Cooperation  Publish Date: 2021-08-24 14:20
MINISTER’S CALL FOR SACU PRIVATE SECTOR ENGAGEMENT

BY PHIWASE PHUNGWAYO
Times of Swaziland 23/08/2021

MBABANE – Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo is calling for a formal private sector engagement within SACU.

Eswatini is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) alongside Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. Minister Khumalo was this past Thursday part of the meeting of the SACU Ministers of Trade and Industry. The meeting was held in Gaborone, Botswana, and featured the other ministers from the region. The key objective of the meeting was to update ministers on the SACU industrialisation agenda. It began with the delivery of opening remarks by SACU Chairperson Mmusi Kgafela. It was followed by remarks from the SACU Executive Secretary Paulina Mbala Elago and the delivery of a progress report of the technical committee of senior officials on industrialisation, export and investment promotion. On the outcomes of the sectoral roundtables held between March and July 2021, it was highlighted that they were geared towards considering export and investment-related opportunities, taking into account the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), constraints, as well as policy-related issues for the respective sub-sectors.

The roundtables further aimed to identify the development potential and challenges faced by the industry as well as propose appropriate recommendations for consideration by the ministers. This was preceded by the completion of a value chain mapping exercise under the five priority sectors of leather and leather products, fruits and vegetable products, meat and meat products, textiles and clothing, as well as cosmetics and essential oils. Following a decision by the SACU Council to narrow down the scope of the pharmaceutical and chemical sub-sector to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and essential oils in order to achieve tangible outcomes and build manufacturing capacity in the region, ministers were updated that a workshop to gather information on the sector and how to actualise developmental approach was now planned for August 24, 2021.

Ministers were also expected to finalise the date for the ministerial investment roundtable, which was initially scheduled for August/September 2021 and later rescheduled to October/November this year, taking into account events across member States including the Dubai 2020 EXPO. However, after discussions, the ministers agreed that focus should be directed to the five priority projects to be presented at the roundtable before deciding on the actual date. The objective of the ministerial roundtable was to showcase and profile the region’s investment and export opportunities in targeted key priority sectors. It further provided a unique opportunity for engaging the private sector and industry players about the policy and regulatory frameworks conducive to enable the development of cross border value chains.
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Update: 2020-04-08
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